[OPE-L] Open letter warning of illegality

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Thu Feb 01 2007 - 09:06:52 EST


For more information contact

Center for Constitutional Rights
Jen Nessel
Phone: 212-614-6449



      CCR and Other Groups Issue Open Letter Warning of Illegality of Any
Offensive Military Action by US against Iran

      WASHINGTON - January 31 - Today European, international, and U.S.
legal and human rights groups issued an open letter warning of the
illegality of any offensive military action by the United States against
Iran. Signatories include the Center for Constitutional Rights (U.S.),
Droite Solidarite (France), European Association of Lawyers for Human Rights
and Democracy, Italian Association of Democratic Lawyers, Haldane Society
(United Kingdom), International Association of Democratic Lawyers, National
Lawyers Guild (U.S.), and Progress Lawyers Network (Belgium). The text of
the letter is below.
      Open Letter to All Members of Congress, the Bush Administration And
the U.S. Armed Forces From Legal and Human Rights Groups


      There are increasing indications that the Bush administration intends
to take military action against Iran. There are also indications that the
administration would support military action by Israel against Iran.


      The undersigned organizations issue this Open Letter to All Members of
Congress, the Administration and the U.S. Armed Forces to reiterate their
affirmative duties to prevent military action and to refrain from ongoing
threats to peace.


      Such military action would be illegal, and any member of the
administration, the military or Congress supporting such action would be
aiding and abetting this violation.


      Offensive military action against Iran would be illegal, as the United
States is bound under the United Nations Charter to settle international
disputes by peaceful means and to refrain from the threat or use of force
against the territorial integrity of any state or act in any other manner
inconsistent with the purpose of the United Nations (Article 2 sections 3
and 4). While Article 51 of the charter recognizes the inherent right of
individual or collective self defense, such a right exists only if an armed
attack occurs and is allowed only until the Security Council can take
measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.


      The UN Charter, as a treaty signed by the U.S., is part of the Supreme
Law of the United States under Article VI 2 of the United States
Constitution. If the President and Congress fail to abide by the law as
provided in the Constitution they violate their sacred oaths of office.


      Any military action against Iran in the absence of a military strike
by Iran would be a war of aggression outlawed under Article 2(4) of the UN
Charter. The sending of aircraft carriers combined with recent threatening
statements constitutes a threat to wage an aggressive war, which is also
prohibited by the Charter. Crimes against peace include: planning,
preparation, initiation or waging a war of aggression in violation of
international treaties, agreements, or assurances, or participation in a
common plan or conspiracy to accomplish these acts.


      The United States and all countries of the world that have signed the
UN Charter are required to abide by their obligations under it. It is in the
interests of all countries of the world that the United Nations be a viable
multilateral institution capable of carrying out the mission of its charter
to preserve peace and promote development and human rights. Actions which
violate that charter undermine it. Actions by the US which violate the
charter prevent the UN from acting effectively; they also undermine the
credibility of the US in the world community. The US cannot demand that
other countries obey the terms of the UN Charter while it is violating those
very provisions with impunity.


      The War Powers Act, which requires congressional approval of military
action, must be read consistently with our obligations under the UN Charter
not to engage in wars of aggression. We urge:


      1. The President, Vice President, and all other members of the Bush
administration who are in a decision-making role with regard to taking
military action in Iran, to immediately renounce such efforts to engage in
this war;


      2. The members of the military to refuse any requests by the
administration to draw up or execute plans for any invasion or other
military action against Iran in light of the illegality of such actions; and


      3. That Congress immediately pass a binding resolution reaffirming the
United States' legal obligations and informing the President and the
administration that it will not concur in any proposed invasion of or
military action against Iran, would refuse to approve funding for any such
military action, and would consider actions taken in contravention of the
resolution as impeachable offenses.


      The Center for Constitutional Rights
      Vincent Warren, Executive Director
      Bill Goodman, Legal Director


      Droite Solidarite
      Roland Weyl, President


      European Association of Lawyers for Human Rights and Democracy
      RA Thomas Schmid, Secretary General
      Professor Bill Bowring


      Italian Association of Democratic Lawyers
      Fabio Marcelli


      Haldane Society, United Kingdom
      Liz Davies


      International Association of Democratic Lawyers
      Jitendra Sharma, President
      Jeanne Mirer, Secretary General


      National Lawyers Guild
      Marjorie Cohn, President


      Progress Lawyers Network, Belgium
      Jan Fermon


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